Retrocoding fun. No installations, no dependencies, no downloads

Learning to code in the 1980s meant learning BASIC. No installations, no dependencies, no downloads. Just you, some type-in listings, and an 8-bit computer. It’s coding like it’s 1985.

BASIC is a fun, easy to learn language that was standard on 80s home computers and inspired a generation to program. BASIC means Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code and identifies a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. The original version was designed by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz and released at Dartmouth College in 1964. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.

The best implementation of the era was BBC BASIC created by Sophie Wilson for the 8-bit BBC Microcomputer found in 80s UK schools.

The British Broadcasting Corporation Microcomputer System, or BBC Micro, is a series of microcomputers and associated peripherals designed and built by the Acorn Computer company in the 1980s for the BBC Computer Literacy Project, operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Designed with an emphasis on education, it was notable for its ruggedness, expandability, and the quality of its operating system.

She later designed the ARM architecture – the most widely used CPU architecture on the planet and the base for the super-acclaimed Apple M1 processor – and so gave us a lot of fun. So, don’t wait, start coding like it’s 1985!

This article aims to get you running BBC BASIC code in a few minutes:

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